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Edward Keane

Edward Keane MP was engineer/contractor for the railways.

Edward Vivian Harvey Keane (8 August 1844 – 9 July 1904) was an Australian engineer, businessman, and politician. Born in Birkenhead, England, he was educated at Christ's Hospital, and emigrated to Melbourne, Victoria, in 1876. Keane then moved to South Australia, where he worked as a railway engineer. He later moved to Western Australia, where he served in both the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council.
Keane was born on 8 August 1844 in Birkenhead, Cheshire. His father, also Edward Keane, was a captain in the Royal Navy, and was a relative of John Keane, 1st Baron Keane, who had been made a peer for his service in India.
In the mid-1870s, construction was begun on a railway line in the Kapunda area of South Australia, with Keane appointed as the engineer in charge of the project. The line was originally surveyed to run through Illawarra, a property owned by Abraham White, brother of James White MP, but Keane had a new survey carried out so that the line was moved away from the property. He married White's daughter, Lilla Rebecca Wharton White (1858–1934), at St Peter's College Chapel in Adelaide on 27 May 1879. They would later have five children.
In the early 1890s, Keane purchased 15 acres (61,000 m2) of land at Cottesloe (now Peppermint Grove) adjoining the Swan River, surrounding a point in the river called Butler's Hump (now known as Keane's Point). A large home, Cappoquin House (named after Cappoquin, the Keane family's original residence in County Waterford, Ireland), was built at the site, with the family taking up residence in 1894. Lilla Keane lived at the house until her death in 1934, when it was bequeathed to the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club for use as a clubhouse. The majority of the property surrounding the house was sold for development, with a small portion purchased by the Peppermint Grove Road District.
Keane was elected president of the Victorian Football Club, an Australian rules football club competing in the West Australian Football Association (WAFA), prior to the start of the 1886 season. The following season he relinquished his role as president to Hector Rason, and was made patron of the club, replacing Edward Scott. In May 1888, Keane was elected president of the league, necessitating him to relinquish his position at the Victorians.
In 1896, Keane, along with several local residents, agreed to form a sailing club based in Freshwater Bay, near his residence in Peppermint Grove. The Freshwater Bay Yacht Club first participated in races the following year, and later received a royal charter. Keane's old residence, Cappoquin House, is still used by the club as a clubhouse. Wikipedia.

KEANE, Edward Vivian Harvey. b. 8.8.1844 (England), d. 9.7.1909 (Perth). Arr. 21.3.1882 with father-in-law from Victoria having arr. there 1876, m. (S.A.) 1877 Lilla Rebecca Wharton WHITE b. 30.12.1859 d. 2.1934, dtr. of Abraham & Mary (nee Grant). Chd. John Vivian b. 1878 d. 1961, Montie b. 1881 (d. infancy), Edith Sarah b. 1882 d. 1953, Kathleen Frances b. 1884 (Bakers Hill?) d. 1942, Judith Beryl b. 1894.
Qualified civil engineer in Victoria and S.A. Contractor 1879. Successful tenderer for sections of Guildford-York railway in 1882, then extension to this line from Bunbury-Boyanup and from Geraldton-Walkaway by 1895. Company manager for Midland Railway Co. Employed 15 T/L men 1883-1886 among his railway workers. MU Geraldton 1886-1890. MLA Perth 1890-1. Mayor of Perth 1891-2. JP 1891. Mining interests. Owner of 16 acres at Keane's Pt. Erickson.

The Keane family were among the first to settle in the new suburb of Peppermint Grove. ... The new title in the names of the three members of the syndicate is dated 23 December 1891, and on the same day the first sales of these allotments were registered. One of these sales was the whole of Butler’s Hump to Mrs Lilla Rebecca Wharton Keane, wife of Edward, who bought the 8 1/2 acres comprising Lot IV for £1100. She and her husband contracted Jesse James to build their new house, one of the first in the new suburb, on this promontory. ... Cecil Henry Hammond bought the whole of what was later Manners Hill Park from the syndicate in 1892. It was used by Keane as his cow paddock and bought by the government before 1900 as a recreational area. ... With all this activity there were no doubt many tracks through the bush. The only one certainly known is one that ran from the Perth-Fremantle Road near Leake Street down to Keane’s Point. When Keane was having his house built the workmen disliked returning along the track after dark because of the abundance of snakes. (Pascoe 1983)

MEN of broad minds are as much required in the management of Australian Railways as they are elsewhere. Railways have to be built into sparsely settled districts in order to give a fillip to development. Along the route may be much fertile soil, which, without this transport agency, would be too remote from a market to enter into the war of competition. Facing railway administrators is the question of the economical working of the lines. At their inception these lines cannot be expected to pay. It is merely a matter of tiding over present difficulties in order to form the nucleus of a future prosperity. There are thus needed in our midst men of grasp and detail, who can choose between the essential and the unnecessary, who have commercial foresight as well as engineering ability, and who are masters in mathematics.
This serves to lead to a summary of the excellent deeds of citizenship of Mr. E. V. H. Keane, J.P. A certificated engineer, and having a wide experience in the building and working of railways, this gentleman came among us, and has helped in the solving of the railway problem in this partially populated colony. His connection with the building of Western Australian lines has been extensive, and as manager of the great privately-owned Midland Railway Service he has instituted some highly useful examples, and assisted, by careful supervision, in the development of considerable territory.
Edward Vivian Harvey Keane, J.P., ex-M.L.A. was born in Cheshire, England, in August, 1844. The early years of his manhood were spent in studying for the profession of Civil Engineer, and he duly qualified. In 1876 he left England and went to Melbourne, where he practised his profession. Subsequently he removed to South Australia and became attached to the Engineer-in-Chief's department as a resident engineer. After two years he retired from the service, and in 1879 began railway contracting. The first contract he carried out was the laying of the Holdfast Bay Railway line on a 5 feet 3 inch gauge. Upon completing this work he built the 3 feet 6 inch gauge line from Terowie to Orroroo. Thereby he became acquainted with what Australians term broad gauge and narrow gauge railways.
About this time Western Australians were considering the advisability of extensively building railways to established centres, and Mr. Keane decided to remove hither. In 1882 he tendered for the erection of the line from Guildford to York. He was successful and completed the work, and afterwards laid the line from York to Beverley, the terminus of the Government railway on the line to Albany. These contracts were large, and were carried out most satisfactorily. Next, Mr. Keane built the railway from Spencer's Brook to Northam, also the Bunbury to Boyanup Railway, and the Geraldton to Walkaway line. His last contract was the construction, for the Midland Railway Company (English), of the line from Midland Junction to Walkaway. This was finished in 1895, and has proved of great advantage to the districts it drains, and in connecting the railway systems of the colony. Altogether Mr. Keane has built about 500 miles of railway in Western Australia, and has been one of the largest employers of labour ever in the colony. In June, 1895, he was appointed by the English Company manager of the Midland Railway Service, and this position he still retains (1896). His management evidences high business ability. He has been alert and comprehensive, and during the last two years, although the Government Railways have been unable to cope with the traffic, by wise foresight and system and method, Mr. Keane has negotiated, without delay, all demands on his line.
During many of these years of commercial activity, Mr Keane has been busy in a public capacity. In 1886 his interests in the district were so large, and it was evident that he possessed such useful qualities, that he was asked to become a member of the old Legislative Council for Geraldton. He was elected, and continued to sit until the inauguration of Responsible Government. He was able to substantially assist members of the Council, and also carefully safeguard the interests of his particular constituency.
When the elections for the first House of Assembly took place in 1890 he was nominated for Perth proper. He was elected, but twelve months afterwards resigned. Then he decided to again contest the electorate for the consequent vacancy. On this occasion he was defeated by Mr. T. Molloy, of Hay Street, Perth. In 1891 Mr. Keane was nominated for the Mayoralty of Perth, and after a closely-fought election was successful. He occupied the chair with such general satisfaction that upon his retirement in 1892, numerous addresses and testimonials were presented to him by council and ratepayers; in fact, he possesses many much-prized mementoes of this kind, presented to him at different periods during his career. In 1891 Mr. Keane was created a Justice of the Peace.
His energies have not been confined to railway, parliamentary, and municipal affairs. He is to be considered among the pioneers of Western Australian mining as it exists to-day. In 1888 he fitted out a party of men who took up the Kathleen lease at Golden Valley, which has the distinction of being the first lease applied for on the Yilgarn Goldfields. About 2,000 ounces of gold were taken from the Kathleen. He is now interested in different mining ventures scattered over the Coolgardie and other goldfields, and is a director of the South British Insurance Company.
In 1877 he married a daughter of Mr. Abraham White, Kapunda, South Australia. Mr. Keane is studious by nature, and has a keen grasp of engineering and commercial matters, especially as they apply to railways. He is a leader in the Western Australian business world, and a most valued citizen.

References, Links, Notes

James, Ruth Marchant 1977, Heritage of Pines: A History of Cottesloe, Town of Cottesloe Council, © Ruth Marchant James: 100-101.

James, Ruth Marchant 2007, Cottesloe: A Town of Distinction, Town of Cottesloe, © Ruth Marchant James 2007.

Pascoe, Robert 1983, Peppermint Grove: Western Australia's Capital Suburb, OUP.

Roberts, Kim 1974, ADB entry.


Wikipedia page.

Inquirer and Commercial News (Perth), 19 Jan 1887

Possum (Perth), 22 Oct 1887

Australian Advertiser, 2 July 1890

West Australian, 31 Jan 1891, 8, 11 July 1904

Morning Herald (Perth), 11 July 1904

Note: Cappoquin House was designed by Dean Smith of the firm Wilkinson & Smith.

Photo by R.W. Niven & Co. from Kimberly via Wikipedia.

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